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In Argentina there is growing repression over territorial conflicts around mining projects that threaten the survival of rural and urban communities in several provinces.
Such is the case of Andalgala, in Catamarca province, where the residents have kept a strong resistance to La Alumbrera mine for two years. Argentinean independent media have reported the area has been under seige since Saturday by a “pro-mining gang”.
On Saturday 11, neighbors and assembly members of Andalgala marched to the main square as they do every Saturday to demonstrate against megamining and in defense of their common goods. But this Saturday the demonstration took place under siege:
“The pro-mining gang blocked the road at the entrance of the town, besieging the place and preventing buses to go in or out of the village. The police is doing nothing to prevent this”, reports the National Network of Alternative Media (RNMA).
The community radio station of Asamblea El Algarrobo, which has been the communication tool for the people opposing mining, was intervened.
Company trucks are patrolling the territory. “The company and the local authorities’ aim to conceal what is happening will not stop the people to stand up and continue defending life and common goods”, say the people of Andalgala.
Resistance to mining has motivated the support from broad sectors, including very urban centralized groups in the capital city, Buenos Aires.
On Sunday 12, intellectual and culture representatives gathered in the group Plataforma 2012 repudiated the wave of repression in Catamarca and Tucuman “against the people that oppose mining”.
The National Peasant and Indigenous movement (MNCI-Cloc-Vía Campesina) explained the escalade of conflicts is a result of a broader issue of the development models: “if this is about money, how much of our money do the transnational corporations keep under the current model? Why not promote policies so that the state can collect taxes from that?” they wonder.
“Leaving conflict resolution to the judiciary is the same as supporting the repression because most judges are partners or accomplices of the monopolies”, says the peasant organization. They also call for a “serious and rational debate around mining including participatory democracy such as referenda and popular consultations about the future we want for our natural resoures”.
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